What first attracted you to the field of chemistry?
I stumbled into chemistry through biology at school, when we started to learn about the biochemical reactions that sustain us, where chemicals bonds are continually being made and broken on unimaginable scale. When I went to university, I expected that I would eventually end up working in pharmaceutical or biomedical research, but I became drawn towards studying the chemical origin of life. That is, what chemical reactions kick-started life on Earth or elsewhere in the solar system. Trying to recreate life in a laboratory – from scratch – was too appealing to pass up, and this is what I do now at King’s.
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about Chemistry?
The word ‘chemicals’ conjures up negative connotations in one’s head, but people may not realise how important chemistry is to their daily lives. The medication you may take, the food you are eating, the water you are drinking, the computer you are reading this on – it’s all chemical!
What advice would you give to someone considering studying Chemistry?
Choose a subject that you will enjoy and that will get you out of bed in the morning. Chemistry is a broad science and it caters for all tastes and strengths, ranging from physics, mathematics, biochemistry and more. It is a wonderful subject, it’s a central science, and chemists will always be needed!
Aside from Chemistry, what do you do in your spare time?
I like reading books that are far removed from my work life. Reading novels has also made me a better writer and speaker. I think it’s important to switch off and enjoy your life outside of work, which is why I love spending time with my partner.